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Monday, October 03, 2011

The great pig escape

Missy is getting pleasantly plump. As soon as the temperatures drop and the weather is right, she will be butchered. We doubt we will wait until February to do it, only because we don't want a hog over 200 lbs to butcher at home.

Yesterday she got too big for her tractor. Or should that be too smart for her tractor?  She figured out how to flip it up and make her escape. She was jubilant about having the run of the homestead.  If it wasn't for the free range roasters and the weak garden fencing, and the neighbors bad dogs, I might have been inclined to allow her to roam.

But for her safety, she has to be locked away.

Husband danced her to the calf pen. Yes danced. She was just thrilled, dancing and kicking her heels up, kind of like when she could get a hold of a chicken skull. It was easy to get her into the pen.

The calf pen has been unused this year due to not milking, however the sheep have grazed it down. Missy doesn't have any grass in this pen, but she has started digging up the ground for root and grubs. The same dance happens when she finds those grubs. Wish I could be that happy when I get my dinner.

I went out this morning, well before daybreak to give her her breakfast. If she isn't fed by the time the sun cracks the horizon, she gets loud and demanding. She not only demands her food, but she demands you scratch her, she demands you merely talk to her. If not, she doesn't shut up. When we first got her, so many people kept telling me you couldn't raise a pig on it's own. That you had to get two. I didn't want to deal with two pigs. No one however could tell me why it was you couldn't raise one pig alone. Everyone assumed that the one would die of loneliness or something. I say the farmer just slaughters the single one early because they don't stop demanding attention!  Two must be quieter. (the only info I could find is that they are happier in pairs and less likely to escape.)

This afternoon I need to go out and re-secure the calf pen to hold a curious pig.

Other things~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We have set in the windows in our porch/bunker thing. And Husband has been sizing the door. pictures and explanation soon.

Small is thriving in his new school program. In just a week he has improved immensely!

I will be butchering the rest of the roasters today.

Theft in the neighborhood is up. Nothing stolen here. . . yet.

We found $5 prairie hay square bales, and jumped on it. We will be trading a calf off for some of it, but that's ok. We had two bulls born this year, so no worries on that. Looking for hay is a problem. Prairie hay round bales went from $40 to $110. That's a huge jump. Horse neighbor found some for $50. But the quality we are finding for the high prices is rather poor.  And some people are paying $150 for round bales. And then come to find out other States are opting to ship bales overseas rather then truck them to drought States because it is cheaper to do so. This is bothersome.

Tomatoes are looking good, nothing yellow or red yet, but if the mild temps hold, things should be good.

It's odd that all I have canned this year is meat. Usually there is a solid month that I am doing nothing but canning veggies. Now I have to buy them. They boys are complaining that they taste funny. And I agree. The frozen ones are just plain nasty and the canned ones taste like tin.  But there is nothing I can do about it. No one has anything. I just harvested 5 gallons of hot and mild peppers though, so I am about to get all kinds of creative with them.


Anonymous said...

Good morning from TN....We have plenty of round bails of hay (4x5) for $25, hubby won't up his prices because it's in demand, says he won't do farmers that way!

Aunt D.

Carolyn said...

That drives me nuts about the hay going "elsewhere" also. We had a drought this year, not as bad as TX, but hay is STILL hard to find and almost twice as much as last year. There are still a bunch of fields that have been cut / baled, but they are shipping them out instead of letting US buy them right HERE!

Phelan said...

Aunt D, wonderful! I don't really blame locals for charging so much because they do have to make back the money they loss. Its just so tough for all of us.

Carolyn, we too are not as bad as Tx, but still over -10 inches of normal rain this year. When farm subsidies are banned, you will be seeing this exportation happen even more often.

Anonymous said...

Well, at least the pig wasn't "as hard as a greased pig" to catch!

ah, hahaha...I crack myself up :P

You can remind your boys the next time they complain about helping you in the garden about how grocery stuff tastes. Save it for blackmail!

Kyddryn said...

An acquaintance told me that you may be able to get hay through Heifer International - apparently they've done hay drops before. I don't know much about it, but perhaps it's worth looking into?

Shade and Sweetwater,

Greg S said...

Good post. I can imagine that pig dance.

I'm a new homesteader. I don't even have chickens yet. But just convinced the wife and will be getting them in the Spring. Other livestock for slaughter is FAR in the future. I don't know that I could slaughter an animal that I've raised since birth. At least not yet. I still have the city mindset.

Phelan said...

Greg, it does take time to get to that point. I too didn't think I could butcher out an animal 10 years ago. We now do everything but the cows. And the only reason we don't do the cows our self is because 1 we sell the meat and 2 we don't have anything strong enough to hoist them in the air with.

The first time we butchered it was emotionally wrecking for me. (See how to butcher a rooster)It's still a bit trying, but we give them a good life before hand.

Good lick on your homesteading venture!

small farm girl said...

I wished I could have sent some of our hay down to you. We sold it for $12 a round bale.

carol anne @ soapboxville said...

This tickles me pink. Who knew that pigs and cats like company? 3 years ago everyone told us if we were going to adopt a kitten that we should really go ahead and adopt 2 because they keep each other company and out of trouble so both Cuppy and Snowy came home with us. Who knew pigs shared this trait?

Funder said...

I saw that article in the WSJ about CA hay going overseas rather than to CA dairy farmers. It kind of disturbed me... but if Americans were willing to pay more, then American farmers wouldn't send hay overseas. It sucks both ways, it really does. I'm just so grateful that my region had a great hay year and I've got mine in the barn.

I pay about $220 a ton for high-quality horse grass hay if that makes you feel any better :)

Phelan said...

Funder, by weight you are paying the same we are, 2 round bales, plus a handful or more equals a ton. However ours is poor to fair quality prairie hay, not high quality.

Farmers would pay more if able. As it is the average dairy farmer (last time I looked) make $0.30 on every dollar. Makes it difficult to stay in that business.

FancyHorse said...

American farmers are shipping hay overseas rather than help other American farmers? That's awful, I hate to hear that!

I'm glad that Small is doing well in school. (I think of you and your boys when I see clothing sizes! Small, Medium, and Large!)

Anthony Spence said...

Great work done by you in this post..I really appreciate it..Thanks and keep posting such a wonderful posts here..

TransFarmer said...

Phelan, I used your recipe for ketchup. I'd like to send you some.

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